McPhillips Bros. Roofing of Saint Paul, Minnesota, has held up a standard in the roofing industry for almost a century, going all the way back in 1921. So while their decades of dedicated customers could use a lot of language to describe them, with more than 150 combined years in the industry among their staff, perhaps the best word would be experience.
Secretary/treasurer Bridget K., for example, started in construction accounting in 1989 before she came to McPhillips Bros. In that time, she’s seen her share of changes in construction accounting technology. She’s also seen her share of different accounting programs. And in truth, she’s found something to like in each of them to get the job done.
But she has a lot to say when she remembers the system at McPhillips Bros. when she first came on board. “I thought it was incredible,” Bridget confesses. “I loved the diversity. I loved that I could send things to Excel and create reports that I wanted.” In fact, there really wasn’t much to complain about at all. To the contrary, she insists, “I really liked it a lot.” The only problem came at the start of 2014, when the software was purchased by a multinational company with immediate plans to phase it out.
Bridget prepared for the worst. “I’ve also installed a lot of software since 1989,” she says. She still recalls with a little too much familiarity how tedious and time-consuming it would be to manually reenter all of their company’s accounting data — from vendor records to account balances, active payables and receivables, plus employee accruals. “Expecting that experience again, I wasn’t looking forward to it.”
In early 2003, two years before Bridget was hired, Brent at Foundation Software sent an email to McPhillips Bros.’ administrative assistant to check in on their accounting software experience. They were seeking out a new system and had requested more information about FOUNDATION®. Over the next few months, they dialogued back and forth and exchanged information before McPhillips Bros. finally concluded, “Not this year.”
Brent called a year later to check in and sent along some additional material he thought might be helpful. The following year, he did the same. That’s when McPhillips Bros. was deciding to move forward with the other software Bridget would later love. But Brent would still keep up with them, calling or sending an email every so often, just to check in with them, keep them updated with developments in FOUNDATION and make sure they were still happy with their system.
In this way, over ten years passed. But eventually, a day came in 2015 when Brent received a contact from a name at McPhillips Bros. of someone he hadn’t spoken with before: Bridget K.
Just as Bridget was preparing to grit her teeth through another long implementation process and begin looking into new vendors to replace their phased-out software, her administrative assistant mentioned someone at a software company with whom she’d been frequently in touch. She related her experience with Brent over the years to Bridget, as Bridget now recalls: “He never pressured us. He was always professional. It really stood out. That’s why Foundation Software was immediately on our list.”
After Bridget took a glance at Foundation’s video tour, it was Brent that set up a live, personal demonstration. “Then when we looked at FOUNDATION, we could see there was a lot there — the fact that we could create our own reports. It looked like it was really user-friendly and adaptable. And the pricing was great.”
But Bridget also appreciated the uniqueness of its business model. They were already seeing it through Foundation Software’s personnel at every turn. “There was no third party.” Sales, support and even programming are handled in-house by people who know and carry Foundation’s company culture. “You’re always dealing directly with people there in the company who know the software. I really like the fact that it’s a family business, and the kids are moving up the ranks, so you know there’s a future. At the time, we were going through a discontinuation. So we really wanted a company that would hang in there.”
It’s the People
McPhillips Bros. signed on with Foundation Software with the hopes of running live on April 1. Far above Bridget’s expectations, Foundation’s ConversionQUICK system loaded all their old data into their new database, saving Bridget countless hours. But early into their training, a key office employee’s mother fell ill, and Bridget lost an important team member for almost two months. McPhillips Bros. thought there was no way they would be able to keep the timeline.
“Louise, our trainer—oh my gosh, I love her.” Bridget remembers, “We had so much fun working with her! She was very patient and understanding, and she kept asking how our employee’s mother was. She walked us through everything and made it very easy for us to understand. Even with the delay on our end, it went very well.” So well, in fact, that they did make their deadline and were fully implemented by April 1.
Bridget and McPhillips Bros. have been building up their expertise now for a little over four months. While the learning curve continues, Bridget has continued to find more to love. “With the report writer, just a click of a button and I can get a totally different report. It’s awesome. Then, with quarterly taxes, it even prints on the correct form for you! That was a wonderful surprise. And year-end was pretty groovy too. It made the whole process easier; it even made the journal entry for me.”
Once again, though, it’s the people that Bridget keeps coming back to. “I’m honestly just totally impressed with how friendly and easy-going people there are. It’s incredible,” she says. “Everyone I’ve worked with has been fantastic. Speaking of Fred, Foundation Software’s CEO, she says, “He must be very particular about who he hires. It shows.”